That was Good

Those are words every one likes to hear.  We like the affirmation of knowing someone else thought that what we did was worthwhile.  It’s true for blogging also.  There comes a reward in working through a post and then hearing someone say, “That was good!”  That makes me smile.

But what makes for good communication?  In the realm of the WordPress world, there is some confidence that you have communicated well if your writing gets “Freshly Pressed”.  That means it’s on the home page of the blog site and you will undoubtedly get swarmed with new readership. I don’t often read the posts that were Freshly Pressed, but when I do I usually choose from the humor category.  I have to say the selected blogs are chosen well.  They make me laugh.  Their intended purpose was achieved.  They were good.

So what specifically makes them good? Well, one thing I’m sometimes surprised about is just the opposite – what wasn’t good. Grammar.  Punctuation.  Things that would make an editor cringe.  It trips me up and slows the flow of the words, but when I finish reading I have to agree that it was still a good selection.  Why?  How can it be good when a teacher would have covered it with red markings?  It must be something besides the proper use of grammar and punctuation.

I have written a variety of blog categories over the past year. And I can tell you that by far and away the category I hear the most about from my friends is “Good Grief”.  I cringe.  Really?  Haven’t they read any of my other writings?  Aren’t they good? Why must they like “Good Grief” of all things?  Half of those I get done writing, read them again for the 20th time and think, “I must be crazy for publishing this.”  I look at the page and see my guts thrown up for all the world to view.  And inevitably that will be the writing that will move someone enough to search for me at church and with tears in their eyes they will say, “Thanks for what you wrote this week.  It really touched me.”  Why?

“What is most universal is most personal and indeed nothing human is strange to us.”   Writing education, practice, natural ability to produce a rhythm with words, proper punctuation and grammar all certainly add to the readability of a piece.  But what I think makes a writing good, really good, is the vulnerability of the writer, a willingness to be real and honest with ourselves and our readers.  And that is a choice.  This year I choose to be a good writer. You can too.

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  1. A brief perusal of Google leaves me uncertain whom (or should that be “who”?) to credit with the above quote. Some options include: Stephen Covey, Carl Rogers, or, most likely the answer is, Henry Nouwen.

  2. That pretty well sums up the responses I get too… I think people like to read things they would have liked to say themselves but could not or were afraid too?

  3. This is really interesting. For the past year, I have been sensing God telling me to make my life count more for Him, and share what He is doing in my life. To be obedient to that prompting, I started my new blog this year. I’m leaving the results of it up to God. (really not trying to plug my blog here, honest!)


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